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Hawk's Hodge to ask Mitchell for advice

Greg Buckle 14/12/2010 05:18:54 PM Comments (0)

Club great Dermott Brereton may have got what he wanted with Luke Hodge to captain Hawthorn next year but the man himself says he's keen to lean on ex-skipper Sam Mitchell for leadership advice.

The Hawks announced in October that Mitchell, the club's 2008 AFL premiership skipper, was stepping down after three years in the role and Hodge was taking over.

Coach Alastair Clarkson said it was a "selfless act" by Mitchell.

It proved to be a big day for Hodge who claimed his second Peter Crimmins Medal for the club's player of the season that night.

On Tuesday as the Hawks lined up for an official team photo at training at Waverley, Hodge paid credit to Mitchell and said he'd be asking the star rover for leadership tips throughout the 2011 season.

"The way Sammy left the guys last season, it has been a quite easy job to go into," Hodge told reporters on Tuesday.

"The attitude of the guys in the pre-season has been great.

"I haven't had to do too much as yet. If it stays that way I'll be rapt.

"The last three years I've learnt a lot off Sammy. He has helped me out a fair bit.

"I've always got him there if I'm unsure of anything."

Hodge's comments come after Brereton caused a stir earlier this year when he said Hodge should be captain of the club, describing the hard-nosed midfielder as the Hawks' spiritual leader.

The comments caused some friction at Hawthorn and it appears Mitchell stepped down to ease tension at the club.

"I'll try to get as many past captains as I can to see the best way to lead," added Hodge, who said former Hawks skippers Shane Crawford and Richard Vandenberg were on his list.

"I was thinking about going to have a chat to Bucks (Nathan Buckley). But I might not now seeing he's going to be taking over the job next year (in 2012) at Collingwood," Hodge said.

Hodge says he's feeling great, coming off a stunning year which included being named the All-Australian captain.

"Getting close to Christmas, you always can't wait for that little break," he said.

The 26-year-old's eyes lit up when asked about a possible switch to half-forward next year.

"I guess bringing in Cameron Bruce and a few other guys, roles might change a bit," Hodge said.

"Especially with the interchange changes (with three on the bench instead of four next season, plus a substitute who can replace an injured player).

"We might have to stay on the ground a little bit longer and go through half-back or half-forward.

"We might mix it up a fair bit for a few players.

"Wherever Clarko puts me. If you say a spot he'll put you at the other end.

"So it's wherever he puts you."

Hodge also said he was "rapt" at the AFL's decision to stick with grand final replays rather than playing extra time, following the controversial 2010 draw between Collingwood and St Kilda, with the Magpies winning the replay.

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